The following information is a Send Relief update from Crisis Response Director Coy Webb regarding the war in Ukraine that includes an overview of the crisis, what Send Relief is doing to help, and how Southern Baptists can pray. Also, you’ll read below a response from BCM/D Community Engagement/DR Consultant Ellen Udovich on what Maryland/Delaware Baptists can do now to help.
The ongoing military offensive has caused 12,584 civilian casualties, including 5327 killed, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The Conflict Continues
As of August 7, approximately 12.95 million people – approximately 29% of the Ukrainian population – have been forcibly displaced by the ongoing military offensive, including 6.65 million internally displaced and 6.3 million displaced across international borders (UNHCR).
Far from abating, active fighting in Donetsk Oblast and intensifying attacks on the southern port city of Mykolaiv are exacerbating the severity and scale of humanitarian needs.
Raging hostilities in Donetsk Oblast prompted local authorities to launch compulsory mass evacuation of remaining residents. This is expected to increase the existing caseload in the hosting communities, reception, and collective IDP centers.
- Across Ukraine, nearly 370,000 people were newly internally displaced between June 23 and July 23, while a new wave of displacement is expected before the cold sets in this fall.
- About 10.2 million people across Ukraine urgently need food and livelihood assistance.
- 12.1 million people in Ukraine are estimated to need health assistance.
- 6.2 million people need shelter assistance and support with critical household items.
- 13 million people in Ukraine have needed water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance between March and August 2022. These include internally displaced people in collective centers and host communities, in addition to communities affected by hostilities-related damages to systems and limitations in water treatment consumables.
- Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) related communicable diseases represent public health risks in affected areas.
Current Resources Activated
Send Relief continues to work with company and national partners on the ground, and Send Relief’s response to this major crisis continues with ongoing relief and aid. Send Relief began responding with food relief before the invasion and continues to collaborate with national partners to provide food, shelter, transportation, medical supplies, clothing, bedding, discipleship, children’s work, and trauma ministry to those displaced and impacted by the crisis.
Send Relief is now assisting in Ukraine, Poland, Moldova, Hungary, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, France, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Slovenia, Italy, Brazil, Belarus, Greece, and Canada. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief state conventions that responded to date include North Carolina Baptists on Mission; Texas Baptist Men; Mississippi; Louisiana; Kentucky; Ohio; Southern Baptist Texas Convention; Georgia; Missouri; Northwest California; Arkansas; South Carolina; and Alabama.
Send Relief has 61 current projects that are active and in response to the Ukraine Crisis in 19 countries, with 25 of these projects active in Ukraine with Ukrainian partners.
- Total Funds Requested to Date: $4,948,912.63
- Total expenditures committed to date: $4,486,396.80
- People Assisted: 1,004,328
Evaluation statistics from 8 of 61 current projects (be aware that this is only 13% of current work):
- People Impacted: 505,150
- Food Packages Distributed: 500,040
- People Receiving Food Assistance: 502,531
- Hygiene Kits Distributed: 995
- Non-U.S. Volunteers Serving: 186
- U. S. Volunteers Serving: 42
- Those Who Heard A Gospel Witness: 2210
- Professions of Faith (New Believers): 401
- Study Groups Started: 2
- Local National Churches Involved: 174
- Number of People Provided Temporary Shelter: 1734
Current Response Objectives
Send Relief seeks to respond to humanitarian needs caused by the conflict and to minister to the multitudes displaced by this continued war. Send Relief has released funding for immediate feeding, shelter, clothing, basic supplies, and transportation needs of impacted populations in Ukraine and neighboring countries and anticipates the needs to continue for those displaced by the conflict in Ukraine and neighboring countries.
To date: 31 volunteer teams and 212 volunteers have responded through Send Relief.
Send Relief partnered with North Carolina Convention leadership in response in Ukraine through work with the Baptist Union and Baptist Seminary in Lviv.
Send Relief is partnering with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention in response to Ukraine through Moldova and Romania.
Send Relief partnered with Filter of Hope to provide 2000 water filters for Ukraine.
Projects are beginning to shift from response to long-term development. AD Abraham Shepherd and AAD Chris Brown need prayer as the response moves into a longer, more drawn-out conflict that is creating chronic needs and as they work with partners to seek sustainable community development.
There is the potential for another wave of refugees to move across international borders in October as colder weather begins to come and Ukraine continues to face fuel, food, and shelter shortages. Further, on OctobOctober 1en will become eligible to be drafted into the Ukraine military.
Many projects are beginning to request extensions.
AAD Chris and Gretchen Brown are working with company partners to explore how to respond to medical needs in Ukraine and to answer requests for doctors to deploy after a meeting with 15 Ukrainian pastors. Emergency medical kits are being prepared to be sent from Greece to Ukraine, and they are exploring ways to provide first aid kits to refugees.
Send Relief has designated $700,000 for Ukrainian refugee efforts in the states.
The best way for Southern Baptists to respond is by praying and giving.
In Maryland/Delaware, Ellen Udovich said churches can give at bcmd.org/give/. Also, churches can connect with Kingsville Baptist Church in Baltimore, which is now serving three refugee families from Ukraine, for opportunities to assist or partner. Udovich says churches or individuals can also contact refugee agencies nearest them to see if there are other families in need or for other ways to help.
- Pray for wisdom as Send Relief leaders move from immediate response to seeking a strategy to sustain response as needs are becoming longer-term chronic needs.
- Pray for peace in Ukraine and Russia.
- Pray for the massive numbers of people displaced.
- Pray for the company and Send Relief leadership as the response begins to shift from immediate response to longer-term development that they would have wisdom and insight in setting strategic ministry plans.
- Pray for the large numbers of internally displaced in Western Ukraine.
- Pray for those unable to leave war-ravaged areas of Ukraine who are increasingly in need of basic life-sustaining supplies.
- Pray for God to change the hearts of those in power in Russia.
- Pray for God’s protection for believers serving and ministering on the front lines of this crisis.
- Pray for those suffering in the areas of active conflict and for those who have lost loved ones.
- Pray that God will open people’s hearts to the hope of Christ through this difficult season in their lives.
- Pray that the displaced can find shelter and basic needs as they flee from the conflict.
- Pray for minority groups being displaced, who are often forgotten and disenfranchised.
- Pray for women and children displaced from home without husbands and fathers, who are often the primary providers in these families.
- Pray that children will be protected from those who might seek to harm or exploit them during this crisis.
- Pray that partners and the local churches will have wisdom and strength during this time.
- Pray for local churches and partners in Poland, Moldova, Hungary, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Italy, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Macedonia, Brazil, Slovenia, Belarus, Canada, and Germany as they seek to help those fleeing and traumatized by war.
- Pray that as we serve together and offer compassionate ministry in these difficult circumstances, all we do would glorify our great Lord and Savior.
Feature photo: Adobe Images